Anu Malik called me 'maal' in front of hubby, alleges singer

Mumbai, Oct 11: After accusing singer-composer Kailash Kher of sexual misconduct, now singer Sona Mohapatra has alleged that music composer Anu Malik sexually harassed her in front of her husband. Mohapatra is married to singer-composer Ram Sampath. Mohapatra alleged that Malik called her 'maal' and used to call her at unearthly hours. She narrated various other incidents in an interview.   “The first time I met Anu Malik was in October 2006 for the rehearsals of MTV Lycra Style Awards. He invited both Ram and me for lunch at the ITC Grand Maratha, since he had worked with Ram as a youngster. (Malik) didn’t know we were married and the moment I went to the rest room, he made a lewd comment — ‘Kya Maal hai Sampath’,” Mohapatra told Hindustan Times. "Subsequently, Anu (Malik) used to call up randomly, at strange hours, leave missed calls or once in a while, if I picked up, [he would] awkwardly talk incessantly about strange things. I stopped taking his calls because I felt [there was] no need to tolerate this for the hope of singing a song for him. [It] was in 2007 - 2008. It’s been really long and I just remember feeling awkward and uncomfortable,” she added. Earlier, Mohapatra had accused singer-composer Kailash Kher of  placing his hands on her thigh. "I met Kailash for coffee in Prithvi Café to discuss a forthcoming concert where both our bands were playing and after the usual, a hand on my thigh with lines like, 'You're so beautiful', 'Feel so good that a musician got you (Ram) not an actor'. I left not soon after," Mohapatra wrote. She said it did not deter Kher. "On landing in Dhaka and on my way to the venue with the organisers, keeps calling me and when I don't pick up, calls the organisers phone to get through to me and asks me to ‘skip' the soundcheck and join him in his room instead to ‘catch up'. "The fact that Kailash had sung in my studios and for many projects in which I was the producer and knew me to be as strong as I am or that he had only recently taken a favour from my partner Ram Sampath to create a personal track for him didn't stop him. The hubris of such men," she added. The singer asked Kher how many women will he apologise to as if he starts now, it will take him a "lifetime". Mohapatra was questioned by social media users about why she was recounting the experience now. She explained: "To all the people accusing me of being so late about bringing up Kailash Kher's bad behaviour, I say... my life. My choice. Now go, buzz off. (P.S. If I started tweeting about every creep I encounter in life here, I would be doing this job full time)." Kher's name cropped up in the ongoing #MeToo movement for the first time earlier this week after a female journalist recounted how he allegedly misbehaved with her during an interview. At the time, Kher told IANS that he was "extremely disappointed" to hear the accusations, and that he was neither aware nor remembered the incident. "For all those who know me and have come across me, will know how much I respect humanity, especially women, even more for the ones who work in media since their work is difficult," he said. News24 Bureau/ IANS